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CRSAFP @ 68: Involving stakeholders toward developing conflict-resilient communities

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Gen Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr, Chief of Staff, AFP has announced during a recent livestream that the Philippine government and the Armed Forces have both made great accomplishments –  among them the modernization of military equipment and vehicles with the latest technology technology.

Madrigal said that back then, they had to take commercial flights to get around. Now the AFP has multiple flying assets, allowing military personnel to travel swiftly around the country. He even cited the Philippine Navy which has also gone a long way, adding in jest that if the current infrastructure is what it was back then, he would had joined them instead.

In seven decades, the Civil Relations Service (CRS) of the Philippine Armed Forces has been instrumental to the past and present successes of the military.

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The CRS is the AFP unit that engages the populace through its public information and community relations programs “to create a favorable atmosphere between the community and the AFP.”

Now at its 68th year of serving the country, CRSAFP vows to continue working with the people to promote peace and development in conflict areas. It is the primary consideration of the unit in celebrating its 68th Founding Anniversary to involve the stakeholders towards conflict-resilient communities.

The CRSAFP manifest its deep commitment to have its aspirations and objectives fulfilled. The continuous efforts of the unit in shaping the information environment has gained positive impact. One of the highlights of this development, is the crafting of multiple Information Support Affairs (ISA) products to include the campaign to support the passing of the Bansamoro Organic Law. Further, the CRS has also played a vital role in fostering and maintaining relations between military forces and civilian authorities. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine Post, Metro Manila Development Authorities (MMDA), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), REACT Philippines, the National Commission on Muslim-Filipino (NCMF) are among the numerous stakeholders the CRS partners with to promote peace building and development program for youth and religious leaders.

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It has built partnerships with private organizations which share the same vision. It has collaborated with business giants like ABS-CBN, Philippine Airlines, JCI Manila to name a few.

Recognizing the need for a more enhance collaboration, CRSAFP has been an active partner of Task Force Balik-Loob, and Australian Defense Force Joint Task group 629.

Another aspect of CRS mandate is to provide accurate information to improved public awareness and understanding the military. It has also helped enhance the unit’s credibility in the field of public affairs. Some of the notable accomplishments on this area are: Coverage of historic port visit of Philippine Navy Vessel in Vladivoztok, Russia, Conduct of Dialogue and Security Awareness Forum in relation to Road Readiness, Disaster Response, and Defense Preparedness Program of Tarlac University. Also, it facilitated the live interview of former rebels, dedicated radio program to encourage the surrender of NPA, Special Coverage of Lumad Leaders on Sagay Massacre Press Briefing, and the guesting of prominent individuals at the AFP Virtual Radio-TV such as Senator Gregorio Honasan, MILF Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar, and former cabinet Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

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A dedicated and hardworking commander of the Civil Relations Service (CRS), Major General

Bienvenido R. Datuin Jr has consistently engaged various stakeholders in the Command’s endeavors through collaboration on challenges of mutual concern. To ensure meaningful engagement, Datuin has maintained regular communications with the Commands’s wide-range stakeholders. Under his leadership, the CRS has become a proud partner with more organizations that have become its competent associates in promoting peace and addressing national concerns.

His transformational partnership with these stakeholders has assured a complementary and concerted effort that will eventually result in the emergence of sustainable peace and conflict-resilient communities.

The men and women of CRS, whom we regard as “Perception Warriors” are very much aware of its commitment to the Filipino people, and to the nation. The perception warrior is always at the ready, maintaining poise, composure, even at times when the service and the sacrifice are almost forgotten or even relegated to the back-burner when the crisis is solved or when times are peaceful. The perception warriors have served and will continue to serve faithfully in good times and bad times, and everything in between. The excellent leadership of CRS has driven the mean and women to achieve the highest standards of performance.

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